Talking Cactus Jack with Eric Whiteback
Tomorrow at 12 PM EST, Otis is set to IPO ‘Nike X Travis Scott’, 5 pairs of rare Nike sneakers made in collaboration with Houston rapper Travis Scott. Released between 2017-2020, the collection includes:
• Nike Air Force 1 x Travis Scott “AF100”
• Nike SB Dunk Low x Travis Scott “Special Box”
• Air Jordan 1 x Travis Scott
• Air Jordan 4 x Travis Scott “F&F Mocha” (no public release)
• Air Jordan 4 x Travis Scott “F&F Purple” (no public release)
> Market Cap: $55,000
> Price Per Share: $11.00
> Total Shares: 5,000
We linked up with Eric Whiteback, aka “The Supreme Guy,” a creator, designer, and pioneer of the streetwear movement on social media to talk streetwear, sports cards, and of course, the Nike X Travis Scott drop from Otis.
1. You have 500,000 followers on Instagram. Your Supreme collection is insured for $50,000. How did you get here?
Eric Whiteback: Man! It’s been a funny ride with lots of ups and downs. While I’ve relied heavily on good fortune and the support of friends to build my platform, every step along the way has been insanely intentional. This didn’t happen by chance.
2. What is your favorite item among your Supreme collection from an investment standpoint?
Eric: From an investment perspective, nothing beats Supreme’s skate decks. Every skate deck is a winner in the long run. Some of the artist collaboration decks can even fetch upwards of 20x their original retail prices.
3. What’s the worst/most overhyped item Supreme has ever released?
Eric: Supreme x Swarovski Box Logos were great in theory, but in reality, they just didn’t work. Crystals easily fall off the shirts, and laundering these things is an absolute nightmare. There’s a reason that these are the Box Logos with some of the lowest profit margins.
4. What’s your favorite item from this current Supreme FW20 season, and what’s the best flip?
Eric: Even though it has mixed reviews from the Supreme community, I love the Cross Box Logo Hoodie. Let me geek out for a second and tell you why…
On one hand, Supreme is insanely intentional about their references and the meanings behind their designs. On the other hand, like any good artist, they never really share the meanings of their designs with their customer. In this case, it’s no coincidence that the horizontal Box Logo lays just above the center point of the vertical logo. The reference here is plain: it’s Christ’s cross. The message, however, isn’t exactly public information. Personally, I think this piece is a powerful commentary on the loyalty of Supreme’s cult-like fan base. It’s like the design team is saying “You worship us. This is your Jesus.” To me, this piece is an in-your-face reminder to keep material possessions in their place… don’t worship them. I love that message.
This item will likely be the best flip of the FW20 season.
5. You’ve also been investing in sports cards. Share your Bol Bol story. And why are Soccer cards your new favorite investment among sports cards?
Eric: I secretly have a background in mathematics, statistics, and predictive analysis. And it’s no secret that I love sports. So, sports cards just makes too much sense for me not to be involved. I’ve quietly collected cards on-and-off for the better part of my life. Selling my childhood card collection actually funded the early days of my Supreme collection.
About 9 months ago, I realized that something big was happening in the sports cards industry. Instead of diversifying, I decided to take a big risk on the player that I thought was most undervalued: Bol Bol. I bought hundreds of his rookies for a buck or two a piece. I was even buying rare numbered variations for just a few bucks. Fast forward 9 months, and I’m up 10x or more on everything. I’ve only sold about 5% of my inventory and am planning on holding the rest as I continue to believe in Bol’s talent. Since then, I’ve gotten way more diversified and have really done some deep analysis of these markets to see where the best opportunities are. I found that soccer, while being the most popular sport in the world, had lower production numbers AND was a fraction of the price of basketball. The market is correcting this, but I still find that soccer is the most undervalued sport right now.
6. Let’s talk Nike X Travis Scott. Otis purchased these 5 pairs of sneakers for $53,308 in total, set a Market Cap of $55,000, and fractionalized the collection at $11/share. What makes Travis Scott Nike’s so special?
Eric: Travis, like Kanye, blurs the lines of what it means to be a musician in today’s world; not only is Travis a rapper, but he’s also an entrepreneur, designer, artist, and so much more. There have only been a few people to really successfully establish themselves across multiple sectors of music, fashion, and business. Travis, Kanye, and Virgil all come to mind. It’s no coincidence that Otis has offered collections from all three of these modern-day polymaths.
7. How much of the boom of the Nike SB’s do you think is attributed to people like Travis Scott and Kyrie Irving and is this peak? If not, what could possibly make it go higher?
Eric: People of this caliber definitely move the needle, but I’m inclined to believe that there are way more factors at play here. Sneakers are up across the board. For Travis to wear an esoteric dunk, and to have prices go up 200% or more, isn’t as impressive as it might seem… for these older shoes, there might only 5-10 deadstock pairs available in the market at any given time. It only takes a few die-hard fans to move the market on these older and rarer sneakers. What I really want to see is… what happens if Travis wears a pair of Brazil’s or University Red’s? Now THAT would be interesting.
It’s only halfway up to Nike to make sure prices go higher. Undersupplying to demand is a great start. If Nike can learn to treat certain products like urban art pieces instead of like normal consumer goods, there’s still a ton of runway here.
But to see prices really get to where they could be, we also need marketplaces like Otis and others to allow for A. fractional ownership and B. instantaneous trading. Separating possession from ownership and creating high-liquidity markets with instantaneous trading would change the world as we know it. Seriously.
8. Among these 5 Travis Scott Nike’s, which stand out to you and why?
Eric: Without a doubt, the 4’s. The sample colorways are awesome… not only do they make for highly sought-after collector’s items, but I also think these colors look way better than the University Blue colorway that released to the public.
9. Buy to invest/ Buy to wear / Sell these sneaker collaborator assets from Otis:
Travis Scott Nike’s: Nike X Travis Scott
Kanye West Yeezy’s: Yeezy Collection I
Virgil Abloh: Nike X Off-White “The Ten"
There you have it! Thank you, EW.